Healthcare access in Downtown Long Beach may get a boost with the newly announced plan to expand emergency services and build a new patient tower at St. Mary Medical Center.
The project aims to provide more modern healthcare for the city with “leading edge” technology and new trauma bays in the emergency room, according to a release. The patient tower will include private rooms, new operating rooms with new surgical equipment and new labor and delivery suites.
The project “will dramatically enhance our capacity to meet the future health needs of patients and their families,” the release said.
The announcement marks the start of the design phase, but the time frame for the hospital’s improvements is not yet clear.
A hospital spokeswoman declined to provide additional details on specifics of the project, including how many additional beds the expansion would provide and when the project is expected to start.
The approvals for such a project would come from the state’s Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, rather than the city.
The announcement follows the closure of Community Hospital, located roughly 3 miles away from St. Mary. MemorialCare Health System, which operated Community Hospital, announced in November it would shutter the East Long Beach hospital after a study found that part of the campus lies on a larger and more active fault line than previously thought.
The city is currently in negotiations with a new operator that hopes to reopen Community with a smaller footprint.
The state approved new requirements for all hospitals to be seismically compliant by certain deadlines, but the St. Mary project is not part of its seismic upgrade plans, a spokeswoman said. The hospital, however, is continuing in its plans to meet the state requirements by 2030.
Valerie Osier covers education and East Long Beach for the Long Beach Post. Reach her at [email protected] or on Twitter @ValerieOsier
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